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Laundry of Stephanus

 Laundry of Stephanus Pompeii






Laundry of Stephanus Pompeii

Location: Regio I

Insula 6

Area: 361 square meters. meters
Rooms: 12


Laundry of Stephanus was a large commercial enterprise in Pompeii intended to clean people's clothes for money. It was one of the largest laundries in Pompeii. Laundry of Stephanus gets its name from numerous graffiti and frescoes on the outside walls of the building. It says things like "the united fullers recommend", "Stephanus recommends" and many others. Amphorae that were discovered here used to contain urine needed to treat clothes. Low pH of acidity of the urine was supposed to clean linens of the people who brought their clothes here. They were emerged in the large bath pictured on the right picture. Slaves would stump and mix urine with the linen, thus serving as our modern version of the washer.


Laundry or Fullonica Stephanus is located on the south side of the Villa del Albbandansa. The building, which was excavated in 1912, is the only known laundry in Pompeii. Other laundries were apparently too small to be clearly identified. The laundry was rebuilt in the existing building of the patrician house, rationally modified to best fulfill its new function.




Laundry of Stephanus Pompeii

The entrance lobby (a) is quite wide, which facilitates access to the rooms. The remains of a large clothes press were found at the east wall of the lobby. The press that was used to “iron” the tunic and tog, apparently, was very similar to the one found in nearby Herculaneum. On the west side of the lobby is a room (b), which can be used as an office for checking, receiving and delivering clothes. The room is decorated in the fourth style with red panels with decorative borders above the bottom red frieze. The panels contain small central shapes. The upper zone contains architectural motifs with garlands and bird life on a white background. The east wall is open to the lobby for most of its length, and in the south wall there is a narrow doorway that opens directly into the atrium (c).


Laundry of Stephanus Pompeii  Laundry of Stephanus Pompeii

In the atrium of the laundry room stands a massive central pool, which has been turned into a washing tub by adding raised volume space. This bath was probably used for more fragile and expensive fabrics or with a small amount of stains. Clothes with more resistant stains were literally trampled by workers in the baths in the back of the room. The atrium is decorated in the fourth style with red panels framed by decorative borders over the bottom black frieze. The panels contain delicate images of animals and birds with unusual architectural decorations.